Take a look at the fascinating subjects featured in this collection of portraits from the Frick Pittsburgh.
On the back of this devotional diptych, the artist has included a portrait of Jeanne de Boubais, Abbess of the convent at Flines from 1507-1533. It is likely that Jeanne de Boubais (identifiable by the coat of arms above her head) commissioned the painting; she was a loyal patron of Bellegambe, quite unusual for a woman in the early 16th century.
Sir George Howland Beaumont (1753-1827), was a landscape artist, friend and patron of artists and writers, connoisseur and collector of Old Master paintings, and a Member of Parliament.
Beaumont had known the artist, Reynolds, since his student days, and over the years Reynolds became his confidant and mentor.
This painting depicts the Vanneck family on their estate outside London. Arthur Devis specialized in "conversation pieces," group portraits, like this, which were meant to appear more natural than formal portraiture.
Sir Joshua Vanneck, a wealthy merchant, is shown at the left, with him are his six children, his two sons-in-law, and his sister. (Vanneck’s wife died two years prior to the date of this painting.)
Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751–1816) is famous for his comedic plays, including "The School for Scandal" (1777). Shown here in his mid-30s, Sheridan had already written his most famous plays and begun a Parliamentary career. His best known plays satirize the British society to which he and Thomas Gainsborough belonged.
"1806, Jena" is one of five paintings Meissonier planned depicting the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and his armies. Other finished examples are "1814, The Campaign of France" and "1807, Friedland". In "1806, Jena," Napoleon watches his army inflicting a crushing defeat on the Prussians.
The artist conducted careful research and was a maniacal perfectionist. He often posed himself as the model for the Emperor, wearing an exact replica riding coat and seated in an authentic saddle.
Here we see the Queen of France in “ordinary dress,” without any attributes identifying her as royalty. Marie Leczinska was the wife of Louis XV, notorious for his liaisons with Madame de Pompadour and Madame du Barry. He and the Queen had ten children.
The artist, Nattier, had a reputation for painting flattering portraits of the women of the era.
This canvas was commissioned during the final illness of Madame de Pompadour, King Louis XV's former mistress and a leading patron of the arts. The artist personifies the arts—painting, sculpture, architecture, and music—showing them on their knees, begging the fates to spare Madame de Pompadour’s life, represented by the thread being spun, measured, and prepared for cutting.
Artists during this period were keen on capturing not just likeness, but a glimpse of personality as well. Here, de la Tour, portrays the important scientist, Charles Marie de la Condamine (1701-1774). La Condamine was part of a team that went to South America to investigate the circumference of the earth.